West Indies to feature on opening day of ICC World T20 in Caribbean

CASTRIES, St. Lucia -- The West Indies Team will take centre stage on the opening day when the International Cricket Council’s World Twenty20 Tournament comes to the Caribbean next year. The first match will be the Providence Stadium in Guyana on April 30 against one of two qualifiers for the tournament, part of a double-header that will also feature Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

If the West Indies, also in a group with England, reaches the Super Eights, it will then go on to play in St Lucia and Barbados, something that would see the hosts play in all three locations for the men’s tournament.

Defending champions Pakistan, who won the tournament played in England last month, will begin its defence against Bangladesh in St Lucia on May 1. The details of the tournament were unveiled at a ceremony in St Lucia on Saturday night.

And the side that defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets to lift the trophy at Lord’s last month will complete its opening group commitments at the same venue the following day against Australia.

India, the 2007 champions, will start its campaign to regain the crown with an encounter with the other qualifier in St Lucia on May 1.

England’s women, who beat New Zealand to lift the inaugural ICC Women’s World Twenty20 title, start their push for back-to-back trophies against old rivals Australia in St Kitts on May 5, the first day of matches in the women’s tournament.

Action will take place at four venues – Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts and St Lucia, with the former’s Kensington Oval hosting finals day on Sunday May 16.

And tickets have been priced to ensure the venues are as full as possible for all 42 matches.  The outstanding value for money deals include:

·         Under-16s will get free entry to all matches in Guyana and all first round matches in St Lucia

·         The highest-priced ticket for all men’s first round and Super Eights matches is just US$15

·         All women’s group games will be free entry

·         Tickets for either of the two semi-final men’s and women’s double-headers in St Lucia on 13 and 14 May start from just US$10 for adults and US$6 for Under-16s

·         The top ticket-price for finals day is only US$40

Tickets are set to go on sale in the CARICOM market on November 1, 2009, with sales to the rest of the world commencing two weeks later, on November 15.  Tickets will be available via website, call centre, outlets and box office with further details to be announced in due course.

Looking ahead to next year’s ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010, West Indies Cricket Board President Dr Julian R Hunte said: “The ICC World Twenty20 has proven a successful and riveting event and the West Indies Cricket Board is pleased to host the third edition of this tournament next year.

“We look forward to it being even more spectacular than the previous ones and invite you to join us in the Caribbean.”

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “We have enjoyed two hugely successful events in this form of the game, first in 2007 in South Africa and last month in England, and I am certain next year’s action in the Caribbean will maintain, if not surpass, the successes of those previous global Twenty20 tournaments.

“One measure of success will be to fill the venues and to try to achieve this we have worked hard with the West Indies Cricket Board to ensure the ticket prices are extremely competitive. 

“In Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts and St Lucia we have four outstanding venues, something that was shown in 2007 when they hosted matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup, and we know that West Indian spectators enjoy the format as they have already embraced Twenty20 at domestic level.

“We also want to ensure spectators are able to enjoy the tournament and we will do everything we can to ensure the event is in keeping with the relaxed atmosphere in which people watch cricket in the Caribbean.

“I’m delighted we have retained the men’s and women’s tournaments in one event with the respective semi-finals and finals being played on the same days at the same venues. This will again provide women’s cricket with a great platform to showcase the talents of the top players.

“What I am looking forward to is another short, sharp tournament with 42 men’s and women’s matches over 17 days in true nation-versus-nation action and it should again be an outstanding and exciting showpiece,” he added.

ICC World Twenty20 Tournament Director Dr Ernest Hilaire said: “We have worked diligently to ensure that the ticket prices for the ICC World Twenty20 2010 are as competitive as possible and I think fans will agree that they are.

“I believe we will meet our primary objective of hosting sold-out matches in a truly Caribbean atmosphere.”

The decision to stage two ICC World Twenty20 events in successive years was taken by the ICC Board in October 2008 to ensure a better mix of tournaments over the coming years.

With the ICC Champions Trophy, postponed from last year and now taking place in September/October 2009, and the ICC Cricket World Cup, another 50-over event, set for 2011, the Board decided it made sense to programme an event of a different format as its major global event in 2010.

This approach also avoids staging the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Cricket World Cup close together, as happened in 2002-03 and 2006-07.